Is Political Conversation An Art?
The first thing I learned about Civics is that it is froth with politics.
Not of its want or making but by the obstinance of its participants.
I was living in Capesterre then and witnessing my first public debate between candidates for The Labour and P.A.M. political parties vying for Seat # 8 in the British Empire’s newly Associated State of St. Kitts, Nevis & Anguilla. There was also An Independent Candidate named Mr. Cooper, who far too many regarded as a clown, but as I listened to Him and watch Him standing firm against this ridicule, I decided that I too would be An Independent and vote for ‘Cooppa.’
Imagine my shock, watching the parade of Dieppe Bay Villagers coming out of Mena Rum Shop with their inked fingers on Election Day as I was told I am too young to vote. First I quoted from The ‘Internal Self-Autonomous’ ruling handed down by The High Privy Council. That having been smiled away with, “she smart no tail,” I then moved to influence one of my Family members to cast a vote for Cooppa on my behalf. I knew My Auntie was a no-go. She was the only PAMite and I have seen Her hold ‘She Ground’ against Granny Them backing Labour.
I still wonder to this day, if there was more that I could have done with my pouting, but suffice it to say, when the votes were counted that evening, the other inked fingers in My Family were thumbs up against a sea of red (the color of The Labour Party as well as The Trade & Labour Union from which it had sprung.)
One of the first things that made me note Cooppa’s Independence was His distaste for the disharmony between both parties, for as he so eloquently stated is “Labour bring all of Us,” referring to The Union and it’s Birth organizing Indentured Servants and Cane Cutters in the earlier part of the 20th century. So from that foundation Cooppa’s focus was on the public fighting between and private partying amongst opposing candidates. His words gave voice to that which had been making my skin crawl, for I had been present and witnessed countless examples of what He spoke. Also, partaking in the casual aspects of My people’s Oral Traditions, I had been privileged to spend My Sunday Afternoons in a ‘Circle of Elders,’ listening to tales of Days gone by that got Us here.
That is how long I have been An Independent.
At that young age, Civics was integrated as a part of Social Studies class in Primary School, then as a separate subject in Junior and Senior High. And while the focus of initial instruction and exams was how government works, in discussions it was all politics. Politics peppered with insults, blame, questions of parents’ marital status at the time of one’s conception and birth, inquiries of Father’s last known locations, accusations of Family Lineages being that of pirates and instructions on how to hold out for more money when a politician came vote buying.
These exercises in conversation had many funny moments. They were also littered with extreme condescension and hurtful attacks on intelligence based simply on expressed support for or opposition for a political party.
Of late, precisely since then Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) announced His Candidacy for President of The United States, I have allowed myself to be drawn into conversations about government and policy that have nothing to do with governance or issues. And while I have since learned that politics is an entity all its own functioning within the Sphere of Civics, I must also acknowledge that the litter which is politics has become a pile of rubbish, no land fill can hold.
The Current issue where Civics is being trampled by politics is Odyssey Dawn, A United States & Allies supported United Nations sanctioned Military Action against Colonel Gaddaffi of Libya at the bequest of The Arab League. Its stated aim is to stop the genocide of Libyans by Their Dictator, Gaddaffi.
I had (and still have) questions about that very notion.
I decided to tweet such to My President @BarackObama for it was He who made the statement that the United States Military would take part in Operation Odyssey Dawn. After which I engaged in other activities, as Tweeps, who I turn to for understanding on all kind of matters, were otherwise engaged at that time.
Much to my non-surprise surprise, political rubbish began piling up in My Twitter stream directed at my ‘helping the GOP to bring down Obama.’ That was followed with accusations of my heartlessness of wanting to watch as Libyans were massacred and the old standby of ‘selfish American.’
Where I allowed myself to be drawn in was with individuals who practice the ‘put who/what/when/where/why/how in front and a question mark at the end of an opinion deriding one’s patriotism and/or intelligence’ style of political conversation.
And by so doing, I wasted my time and resources (Twitter API) which can never be regained. For I choose to approach from my strength, that being an Understanding of Civics, Thirst for Knowledge and Lifelong Concern for The State of Global Justice, Freedom and Liberty. This left me wide open to attacks of avoiding questions, being a loud mouth.
USC Professor of Journalism @marc_cooper tweeted @BrokePimpStyles “For sure! The CIA fed exes me a big check every week.LOL, poor soul” (don’t ask me. How would I know if He uses KOCH?)
I had used Professor Cooper’s (no relation to Cooppa that I know of) March 20th tweet, Dumbest Tweets of the Day On #Libya. @mmflint is the winner! http://bit.ly/hKc2U4 #nfz #twitter, as an example in the edition of ‘SCRAPING PLAQUE OFF MA BRAIN’ on why distresses about the misuse of political conversation to question another’s legitimacy in all aspects simply because the opinion(s) expressed do not mach one’s own.
As I continue pondering my lifelong question of whether political conversation is Art, I am beginning to think it may be a contact sport with rules made up as suited to S/He who deems themselves the arbitrators of such goings-on.
And that now has set me upon another quest for understanding.